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HI Dear Kitty!

Remember me?  Last time I checked in here, I was the sad and pitiful girl who was lost in a swampsea of emotional bullshit and tragic life circumstances.  She lived here.

And there she shall stay.

I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I used my keyboard to verbally vomit my life story upon your bedazzled little whiskers.  To say that things have changed, that I have changed, since then, is a huge understatement.  For that reason my dear Kitty, I feel it is time for you to evolve as well.  I’m almost like a real grownup now!  I’ve endured tragedies.  I’ve felt real pain and heartache.  I’ve survived a teenager learning how to drive!  So my beloved pink and frothy sweetheart, I must provide a new look, name and direction for my humble blog.  Where you once fit my life as the perfect image to capture my youthful innocence and rosy outlook, I am sorry to say that I now need something a bit more, well, realistically badass.  Hello Kitty is like the BC to my Wonder Woman AD.  Oh, and BC = Before Crap forced me to grow up.   AD = After Divorce

There it is.  Divorce.  I am divorced.  It happened.  I have a new label to slap on my forehead, right above anxious, hopeful, has ADD, silly, and kickass righteous bitch.

So yeah, that’s how the story of the girl and the boy ended.  My unintentional foreshadowing was actual foreshadowing.  That was long ago though.  Sadness tarnished my precious Hello Kitty diary.  It is inevitable that she must now be put away.  Four long years have passed and I’m happy to say that the girl in those posts is now a woman who has found a better existence. Hello Kitty, you carried me through some shit.  I am sorry to have smeared it on your sparkles.  May you rest in peace.

It is time to begin anew….

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[sloppy and extemporaneous post to follow]

I am very very good at supporting and guiding others.  I’ve always had a passion for helping people discover and nurture their personal talents.  I love being part of a person’s journey toward achieving some goal and I feel pride in seeing them achieve it and knowing I may have somehow helped them get there.  I suppose that’s why I chose to be an educator.  I have been everything from an ESL teacher, to a writing tutor and currently, a preschool teacher.  I am proud of the fact that I have helped so many people, young and not so young, progress toward some much desired goal, whether it was learning a new language, or just learning to use scissors correctly. 

When someone is able to move forward, independent from my help and guidance, then I know I’ve done a good job.  This in fact, is also what I think a good parent does–we serve as guides to the development of independence in our children.  We hope we can inspire them to be good people, who ultimately will move the heck out of the house!  If we’ve done our job as parents (their first and most important teachers by the way) then our children will be able to confidantly work toward their goals, one of which should be to be emancipated from us!  We believe in them, they believe in themselves.

Now, here comes the big “but”.  I’ve recently realized that being someone who spends their time cheering others can have one huge drawback.  That is, if you spend all your energy supporting and cheering other people, and forget that you yourself may have some goals that have yet to be met.  I thought I was doing the right thing in being a mere supporter and cheerleader of the man in my life.  I threw my all into helping him achieve his goals.  I perceived his goals as “our” goals.  Just as I feel  a good parent will unconditionally stand behind their child and guide them toward their dreams, I felt a good wife does the same for their husband.  Herein lies the problem however.  Whereas I want to see my children follow their dreams and eventually no longer need me, I didn’t expect or wish for the same result in my husband once he achieved his.

I do not regret helping my spouse follow his dreams.  I am now and always will be extremely proud of what he has achieved.  He busted his ass (and still does) to get where he is, and I was more than happy to stand beside him and do what I could to support and encourage him.  What I do regret is losing sight of my own dreams.  I made his dream my own.  Unfortunately, he was the sole proprieter of the dream, and of the resulting business he now runs.  And now that he has obtained all that we strived for, well, where does that leave me?  He got what he wanted.  I have no role anymore. 

As a mom, I want to see my child grow and achieve and move toward independence.  But as a wife?  It doesn’t feel that great.  It feels more like I made myself disposable.  I cheered my husband right into a life that has no room for me. 

 

When tragedies happen, people always say “nothing can prepare you for this”.  I don’t think they mean the actual tragic occurance however.  After all, there are fire drills, and earthquake drills, and books and courses on emergency preparedness.  So really, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of trying to prepare for every possible horror anyway.  I’m fairly certain I’ve even heard about books that will prepare you to handle a zombie attack.  So, can we honestly say, in the face of some traumatic event that “nothing” can prepare us for it?  No.  But I think I’ve figured out what people are truly saying in that phrase.  It’s not that we aren’t prepared, practically speaking.  It’s that we aren’t prepared emotionally.  Of course, dealing with the reality of a trauma, even one that you may have practiced for a dozen times, like say, a fire, is bound to be far far worse than any amount of planning  could have anticipated.  So while you may manage to escape the fire because you spent years rehearsing your exit route, you couldn’t possibly practice an exit from the emotional aftermath.

What about the smaller, quieter, more personal traumas though?  These you can’t  rehearse ahead of time, because you can’t even conceive of their possibility.  Loss.  Lonliness.  Depression.  No one anticipates these things occuring.  These are the fires and destruction that occur within.  Sure, there are books that can help you deal with it after the fact.  And at a certain point you may even see these things coming, so you might try to head them off somehow.  But when they hit you, it’s always far worse than you can imagine. 

My marriage is in trouble.  I could go buy every book in the self-help section, but my emotions have already overwhelmed me.  I feel hopelessly lost.  The person I wish to lean on most is turning a deaf ear.  I could scream (and I have) but that only gives me a sore throat.  There is neither death nor destruction around me.  Buildings have not crumbled.  Smoke is not rising (only figuratively).  I certainly cannot compare my pain to that of anyone experiencing the heart-wrenching tragedies of shared loss, like those poor souls in Japan.    I pray I never have to know what that sort of pain feels like.   Nevertheless, I’m suffering.  My marriage is my life’s anchor.  I won’t insert some lame Titanic methaphor here, but forgive me when I say, I have been watching a sinking ship for several months  now and I’m terrified. 

Nothing could have prepared me for this.

Warning:  this is long.  this is very personal.  this needed to be written.  it is without regard to style or grammar or audience.  but i need to post it.  on the very off chance that anyone out there has wondered why i haven’t written in ages, this will sum it up.

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  The girl was young and idealistic.  She was a “glass is half FULL” kind of girl, who always saw only the best in people.  This also made her pretty naïve.  She knew this, but because she was hopelessly optimistic, she didn’t care.  The girl had bigger issues, but she was good at tossing them aside and trying only to see the good in herself as well, even if it meant she ignored important, but difficult problems.  She preferred to cruise through life with rose-colored glasses.  She knew things would always work out.

One day the girl met a boy.  The boy was young and full of promise.  He was intriguing to the girl, because he was clearly someone who was not like her at all.  He seemed a bit rough around the edges, but he was the picture of confidence and self-assuredness—something the girl was not.  Of course, the girl being the naïve romantic that she was saw him not as someone she should stay away from, but as someone who could be the yin to her yang so to speak.  She was in love at first sight.

The boy seemed interested in the girl too.  Perhaps there is truth to the saying that opposites attract.  In this case, the sparks were sparkling, the pheromones were flying and love blossomed quickly.  They may have been nothing alike, but their differences were like the opposing curves of two puzzle pieces—it made them a perfect fit. 

The boy was kind and affectionate.  He didn’t mind that the girl was a bit nerdy and awkward.  She was pretty at least.  And smart.  The girl didn’t mind that the boy was more of a tough guy and a jock.  He was handsome at least.  And really smart.  He taught her about ice hockey, and parties and letting loose and above all, romance.  She taught him about romantic literature and art and seeing the world as an adventure waiting to happen.  They truly enjoyed entering one another’s worlds and soon fit into them as if they’d always been a part of them.  The girl could scream louder than any hockey fan and could party like the president of Animal House.  The boy could dress up a bit and stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art like a seasoned art lover.  They were passionate about each other.  They were young, but knew that they would always be together.

And so it was.  The smart, confidant boy graduated and began his life and the girl with the rose colored glasses followed.  They were very happy together and made plans to be together forever.   The girl encouraged him along the way, and always led the cheering section for the boy, whether it was in hockey or in life.  When it came time for him to find a career, it was the girl who perused the newspaper ads and bulletin boards for the boy.  The girl helped him type his resume and pushed him toward the interview for the job that would eventually grow to be a successful 10 year career.  The girl wasn’t worried about herself.  Those rose-colored glasses assured her that she would be happy whether she found something for herself or not.  The girl was more interested in her guy’s happiness than her own.  Besides, when the boy proposed marriage, she was assured that he would take care of her for the rest of her life anyway.  What more did she need?  She had decided that her job was to ensure the boy was happy.  She felt she couldn’t be any happier herself.

For awhile, this plan worked out well.  Both the boy and the girl were very happy indeed.  Until one day when the boy decided he wanted something more.  While the girl was content simply being a wife and now, a mother, the boy was yearning for greater fulfillment.  To the boy, this meant no longer working for others.  He wanted to work for himself.   Of course, the girl was all for it.  Naturally she encouraged his plans.  In fact, she may have even planted the seed of his dream when she had suggested that their fair city could use just such an establishment that the boy would soon purchase and plan to run.  So of course it only made sense that the girl would encourage the boy every step of the way.  Before long, the dream was not only the boy’s, but the girl’s equally.  While the boy invested time, money, and labor into this project, the girl invested her emotions.  The boy was always so smart and clever, and accomplished much in a short period of time.  But as with any business venture, it was fraught with setbacks and difficulties.  Since the girl was ever an optimist, she kept cheering on the boy, assuring him that things would work out and the dream would eventually materialize.  She didn’t want him to give up, even when it meant near financial ruin for their family.  The girl thought the best way she could help was to stick by the boy, encourage him, and fight for him.  She never considered ways to contribute in a more tangible fashion, like getting a job herself to help out.  She could only see herself as the stay-at-home mom she was.  Her children were very young and needed her.  Besides, she didn’t believe she could find a job that would make enough money to be worth it.  She was naïve, remember?  She had also spent all her time cheering on the boy and raising the babies, and had been content to do so.  Now that the boy was no longer content with things, well, it was only then that the girl questioned whether she needed to try something else to keep him happy.  But the girl had never finished her advanced degree and had not worked outside the home for many years.  They couldn’t afford college now.  The girl was not qualified for any real salaried jobs.  She would have to settle for hourly positions which certainly wouldn’t pay a babysitter if she needed one.  The girl suddenly felt useless and dejected.  The rose-colored glasses were becoming tarnished and scratched.

Nevertheless, the girl tried her best to keep that rosy outlook.  She convinced herself and the boy that things were going to be ok.  Yet sadly, after several years of setbacks, the boy’s business venture seemed to be at a dead end.  Even the girl had to admit that perhaps it was time to give up the dream, especially since it was beginning to erode her already fulfilled dream of a happy family life.

Heartbroken, the boy decided it was finally time to move on.  The girl was every bit as heartbroken as the boy.  In fact she may have been even more so because she felt his pain as well as her own.  It took many months, but it seemed that the boy was finally at peace with what was ultimately the death of a dream.  Sadly however, and unnoticed at first by the girl, the boy also suffered the death of part of his soul.  He would be unable to truly move on, which would prove all the more tragic when the girl was in fact able to move on without him.

Soon, the girl would finally have a new dream of her own.  This didn’t mean she was through with being her boy’s biggest fan.  She would never stop loving and encouraging him.  However, she started to recognize a yearning within herself as well.  That yearning was for stability.  The girl found herself mentally and emotionally exhausted from the years of uncertainty and risk and worry that came from the boy’s state of affairs.   She wanted to have a sense of security and hope for a better future.  Again, she looked to the boy to provide this.  In her naïveté, she didn’t see anything wrong with wanting it that way.  So when the boy landed a terrific job, with a good salary and benefits, all while seemingly at peace with everything, the girl couldn’t have been happier.

That’s when those nearly tarnished rose-colored glasses essentially shattered.  The boy suddenly found a way to reignite his business-ownership dream.  What he had given up was now taken back, full-steam ahead.  And shockingly, the girl who had once been unable to fathom anything but encouraging the boy, was now in the uncomfortable position of wishing this wasn’t happening.  Her first response was not one of encouragement, but one of disbelief and anger.  This surprised even herself.

Somehow though, the girl managed to pick up a rose-colored shard and used it.  She sought that proverbial silver-lining and thought that perhaps this would somehow be a good thing.  The boy could fulfill his dream, all while maintaining the girl’s dream that had seemingly come true—the stability.  The girl decided to focus on that thought.  She imagined the boy being able to truly do it all:  keep the day job and the stability, all while pursuing his true dream of business ownership to the fullest.  The boy was her superhero after all, why not??

Every superhero has his downfall however.  Superman had kryptonite.  The boy had tunnel vision and a broken heart.  He continued to try and try to achieve his dream.  He was determined to see his dream through, no matter what the cost.  The girl remained understanding and did her best to fulfill her self-appointed role as cheerleader.  This time however, the boy did not want it.  He could not get past his broken heart.  The boy felt his dream was not really his anymore.  He did not feel fully part of it, since he was no longer there geographically and physically.  He was not comfortable with the idea of running things long-distance.  The girl understood.  She didn’t know how to be the cheerleader anymore though, especially since the boy didn’t seem to want it.    In fact, the boy didn’t seem to want anything from the girl anymore.  He only wanted his business.  He wanted only to be somewhere else.  How could the girl be a fan of this?  Now the girl was lost.  Without someone to encourage and cheer for, she didn’t know what to do.  She had always made it her job to keep others happy.  In her naïveté, she thought she was doing just that through all the years she’d been with the boy.  She didn’t know how to deal with the boy now that nothing could make him happy except for being away from her. 

The girl was devastated.  The boy was depressed and angry and stressed.  The promise of stability was broken.  The girl’s inability to make a difference was killing her.  Adding insult to injury, the boy become insufferably antagonistic.  If he couldn’t be happy then he was determined that no one else should be either.  If the home was the girl’s place of employment, then she would be able to sue over a hostile work environment.  It became unbearable.  The boy was incapable of finding any joy in his family.  The family, sensing this deeply, could only respond in kind. 

The girl was giving up hope.  She grew weary of hearing resentment in the boy’s every word.  She grew incapable of optimism.  The boy’s anger became vitriol directed at the girl and their children.  The words he spoke grew uglier every day.  On occasion it even became physical violence.  It was at this point that the girl’s heart broke on its very own.

Where this story goes from here is undetermined.  The conclusion cannot be written as it hasn’t yet happened.  The girl, who had always been full of hope, if not determination, all these years, is struggling to find some.  She wonders if she made it this far precisely because she’d always been so optimistic.  If that is the case, then what will happen to her when hope is lost and optimism is gone?  If the very things that carried the girl and boy through the tough times are absent, then what?  Does it mean the boy and girl will lose each other?  Or are they already lost?  Without hope, one can’t imagine something better than that.

The only thing that is for sure is that the girl is indeed a broken spirit, like the boy.  Yet she still cannot imagine doing anything to hurt the boy in spite of all the hurt he has caused her.  The girl loves that boy.  To her, that is still the only thing that matters.   She just doesn’t know if the boy feels the same.

To be continued….hopefully.

It’s 12:20 am. I am bleary-eyed and a bit depressed. Husband is away. Kids climbing walls all day. Me with a list of eleventy five thousand things to do so I just do zero. One of those list items is “Attend to your poor, neglected non-blog.” It’s right above “Attend to your poor, neglected children. They need breakfast.”
Well, at least I took care of one of those items…

It’s like entering the swimming pool for the first time after the long, cold spring ends. I need to delicately dip my big toe in first and test the water. I will probably pull it out quickly and then just stare at the pool for countless minutes. I will then perhaps put both feet in, but just for a second on the top step.  It’s cold.  I don’t know if I really want to jump in, if it’s even worth it. But give me some time. Something will remind me how refreshing it is, how good it feels in spite of the initial goosebumps.

And then? Then I will take a running start, and dive right in.
*splash*

the brain is bubbling…the monster may soon awake.

like whitney houston, with less of a druggie past (and far less celebrity), i am planning a come-back. i’m sure you can hardly contain yourself. me neither.

stay tuned. thanks.

But not really HERE, I guess. I’ve missed you Dear Kitty. I’ve been swallowed by the abyss of a new house, new town, new schools, kids with adjustment disorder, husband with new job stress, blahblahblah.

I get why “abyss” defines “abysmal”.

It’s not all bad. It’s just that its taking me awhile to climb out of the pit. It’s a bit shallower each day though, and I should be able to step out into the sunlight soon (though it will help when there are ACTUAL consecutive sunny days–I haven’t seen this much snow since I lived in upstate NY 25 years ago.) 

I’ll get there. I hope you’ll still be there when I get back.

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